Archaeology and Planning

The National Planning Policy Framework requires that all development proposals must consider how work may affect heritage assets or sites of archaeological interest, including any contribution made by their setting, before a planning application is determined.   We offer advice on development proposals in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Local Plan Policies. We recommend early discussions, ideally before you submit a planning application. We also monitor the work of professional archaeological contractors and consultants who carry out excavation and survey work in connection with development. We ensure that the results of this work are made available through the Historic Environment Record. 

  • Pre-application advice

    How we can help you

    It is best to consider any archaeological implications a development may have as soon as possible. A problem recognised in the early stages enables more flexibility in design and layout.

    We can advise on the archaeological implications of your proposal and if there are likely to be any issues, set out what steps you should take next. These may include:

    • Commissioning an archaeological assessment (desk-top study which makes a detailed appraisal of available information about a site)
    • Commissioning of field evaluation - this could take the form of a non-intrusive survey such as geophysical survey or sample excavation (trial trenching)
    • Design considerations (e.g. site layout or design of foundations / other sub-surface structures where conservation of archaeological remains is required)
    • We can also advise if other forms of consent are required, such as Scheduled Monument Consent

    In most cases where pre-determination work is required, the first or sometimes the first two steps are sufficient to enable the determination of a planning application. Sometimes more detailed discussions are needed where the conservation of buried remains/ heritage assets may be required. This is particularly so within the historic city of Winchester where multi-phase urban stratigraphy and waterlogged deposits are present. We have put together a document setting out the requirements for an initial desk-based assessment in the historic core of Winchester – this is available on the right hand side of the page.

    Evaluation trenching of a large site at Waterlooville

    Where pre-determination field work is required, we will need to agree the scope of the work before starting. A Project Design or Written Scheme of Investigation written by a professional experienced archaeologist should be submitted to us for approval.

    This information will help the planning authority to assess the implications, if any, of your development.

  • Employing a professional archaeologist

    In many cases where there may be significant archaeology present, particularly within the historic city of Winchester, you will need to employ professional archaeological assistance.

    The historic city of Winchester is complex, requiring a sound understanding of multi-phase urban stratigraphy and waterlogged deposits. Although we are unable to provide a list of approved archaeological organisations, we recommend the list of Registered Organisations maintained by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (a link is provided on the right hand side of the page.

    We suggest that you check whether potential archaeologists have experience in dealing with complex urban deposits, ideally within Winchester itself and a track record in bringing such projects to a successful completion, including where required publication. 

    Although we provide advice and assistance on how to employ a qualified and experienced archaeological organisation, any appointment is made at your discretion and at your own risk.

  • Planning application process

    When you submit a planning application, we will assess the impact the proposed development may have on archaeology and provide one of the following recommendations:

    • No objection
    • Request more information or archaeological work
    • Refusal

    Where we ask you for more information to assess the archaeological impact you will need to commission an archaeologist to carry out the work before the application can be determined. This work may comprise a desk-based assessment or field evaluation (see the pre-application advice section above).

    Our advice will then depend on whether archaeological remains will be affected by your proposed development and the importance of these remains. If they are of national importance the application may be refused, however it may be possible to accommodate archaeology in the design of the development.

  • Planning conditions relating to archaeology

    Your planning permission may include conditions requiring you to undertake archaeological work, either before you start, or during the development. This may comprise one of more of the following:  

    • excavation and recording – this is undertaken ahead of the development, providing a lasting record of archaeological remains which would be otherwise destroyed by the development
    • Watching Brief –the recording of archaeological evidence during the  course of the development
    • Building recording – to provide a lasting record of built structures that will be altered or destroyed by the development
    • field evaluation – occasionally field evaluation may be carried out following the granting of planning permission, ahead of development, in order to determine whether any further archaeological work is required and what that might be
      Anglo-Saxon grubenhaus under excavation at Micheldever


    We can advise on the scope of the archaeological work, which will need to be agreed with the planning authority before you start the development. A Project Design or Written Scheme of Investigation written by a professional experienced archaeologist will need to be submitted for approval.

  • Discharge of archaeological conditions

    Conditions securing programmes of archaeological work are normally discharged upon completion of the on-site archaeological work, although sometimes a partial discharge is possible, prior to the completion of the archaeological work. See the main Planning Pages for further information on discharging conditions.

    A separate condition normally secures reporting / publication of the results of the archaeological work. This comprises an unpublished report which is then use to update the Historic Environment Record. The report should be submitted the local planning authority as part of your discharge of conditions application.

    Where extensive or significant archaeological remains are encountered, a programme of post-excavation assessment and analysis of the project findings may be required. This would result in the publication of the results of the work as an article in Hampshire Studies, the annual publication of the Hampshire Field Club. Occasionally publication may be in a national journal or, for large scale projects, as a book.  You can normally secure discharge of the reporting / publication condition following the completion of the analysis stage of the post-excavation programme and confirmation of the publication proposals.    

Contact us: Telephone 01962 848 380 or email us